The hip bone's connected to the back bone
The back bone's connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone's connected to the head bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!
I am sure we were all familiar with this old spiritual as kids. Last month I pondered what it was to be part of a Society. Recent happenings in Christchurch have reminded me that, like those bones, we are all connected together and when one bone rattles, the others follow suit. One positive, almost certainly the only positive, from the devastation has been the sense of community that has developed, not only locally but across the nation and even across the Tasman. The same was true after the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods. Why does it take a disaster to achieve this?
With the ASM fast approaching it is also worth pondering "dem bones". Like dem bones we are all connected together in our Society and, indeed, in our Profession. The ASM provides an opportunity to shake dem bones around but more importantly it provides an opportunity to ensure they stay connected. Networking at the meeting is what keeps things together.
As you prepare to head West, resolve to take the opportunity to talk to people about
- questions you may have about equipment or test methodologies
- research ideas you want to crystallise and develop
- management difficulties - your own, or how to overcome institutional frustration
- arranging to visit another lab - always a learning experience
- the direction the Society is taking
The list is endless really. I believe strongly that those of us who have been around the block a time or two should be mentoring others within the Society. I know I am not alone in that belief. You should never be reluctant to approach anybody in the Society, senior or not, to discuss professional matters - or woodworking, cooking, photography or anything else for that matter. I never fail to be surprised where and how ideas strike. It is only by sharing thoughts, sharing ideas, that we strengthen our connections within the Society and develop ourselves. We may deal with oxygen supply and utilisation but we are just as connected as the bones.
Maybe we need a new set of lyrics?
"The muscles are connected to the heart pump
The heart pump's connected to the lung sacs
The lung sacs are connected to the atmosphere
Now shake dat oxygen about."
I will hopefully have opportunities to share my experience with many of you at the ASM, so please make the most of your time in Perth. Reinforce the joints between dem bones during the formal parts of the meeting so you can shake 'em all about through the social activities we have planned for you. It is your meeting and what you get out of it is up to you.
'til next month,